Der Übergang ins Zeitalter der erneuerbaren Energien stellt auch an die Wissenschaft besondere Herausforderungen. Der Umbau des Energiesystems basiert nicht nur auf technologischem Fortschritt, sondern erfordert auch gesellschaftliche und ökonomische Innovationen. Was sind derzeit die drängendsten Fragen an die Energieforschung? Wo kann sie neue Perspektiven eröffnen? Darüber diskutierten am 14. Oktober rund 300 Vertreter aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft, Zivilgesellschaft und Politik beim „Agendakongress“ des Forschungsforums Energiewende in Berlin. Die Veranstaltung war Teil eines breit angelegten gesellschaftlichen Dialogs im Forschungsforum Energiewende, den das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) angestoßen hat.
Launched by the BMBF, the Research Forum has assumed responsibility for the Strategic Research Agenda for the Energiewende, which it will finalise by the end of this year. This Strategic Research Agenda will contribute to the German government’s energy research programme. “The openness and transparency of the process are unprecedented: the Strategic Research Agenda is the result of an intense discussion. It will allow us to conduct research on the Energiewende in a way that brings long-term benefits and involves a wide range of actors in the process,” explained IASS Executive Director Professor Klaus Töpfer, a member of the Executive Council of the Energiewende Research Forum. The IASS played a role in the establishment of the Research Forum and was also involved in the dialogue process.
German Minister for Education and Research Professor Johanna Wanka said that German research institutes had to “bring their impressive expertise to bear on the design of the Energiewende”. She stressed, however, that communication with stakeholders from industry, politics and civil society was essential. In the run-up to the Agenda Congress, the Energiewende Research Forum organised several workshops in order to integrate the practical knowledge of societal stakeholders into the Strategic Research Agenda.
The discussions revolved around themes such as intelligent and flexible grids and storage technologies with which energy-intensive industrial processes could cope with an intermittent electricity supply from wind and photovoltaic. ‘Power-to-X’ – a term used to describe potential ways of dealing with surplus electricity in future – was also discussed. What options exist to convert renewable energies into hydrogen or methane (Power-to-Gas), heat (Power-to-Heat), or basic chemicals (Power-to-Chemicals)? Delegates also considered how economic and political structures could be adapted to allow new technologies to be successfully integrated into the energy system.
The Energiewende Research Forum is a transdisciplinary platform for dialogue. The Research Forum’s assembly includes stakeholders from governmental agencies, science, industry and civil society. Together, they discuss and assess science-based options for action that emerge from the academy project “Energy Systems of the Future” and develop recommendations for policy-makers. The work of the Energiewende Research Forum is coordinated by acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering – the IASS, and the Max Planck Society. At the IASS, the Transdisciplinary Platform for Energy Change (TPEC) carries out research on issues such as sustainable energy sources, energy storage systems, developments in electricity pricing, and CO2 emissions. TPEC also connects science with politics, industry and civil society and evaluates the progress of the Energiewende on a regular basis.
Foto: © acatech/David Ausserhofer